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Ricciardo: Not worth taking new Renault engine updates

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Daniel Ricciardo does not believe it is worth Red Bull using the updated Renault power unit for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix unless it provides a massive pace increase.

Red Bull has struggled throughout 2015 thanks to the deficiencies of its Renault power unit, leading to a turbulent on-again-off-again saga between the two parties heading into 2016.

As things stand, Red Bull is yet to formally cut ties with Renault despite expressing a strong desire to do so earlier this year, knowing that the French manufacturer could in fact be the only option for an engine supply.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Renault is understood to have spent the majority of its remaining development tokens in a bid to improve its power unit for the final four races of the season.

However, Ricciardo revealed in Thursday’s FIA press conference that it was unlikely Red Bull would take the updates, believing any possible gain to be countered by the grid penalty that would need to be served.

“It’s available if we want to use it,” Ricciardo confirmed. “Obviously that would mean a penalty, though, so we’ve got to understand if it’s worth it.

“Last I heard, it’s not massive so from my understanding it’s probably not worth taking it.

“I think we’re down such a chunk that I don’t think we’re going to gain enough in this short time to make it up so if we start from the back, I don’t think we’re going to make [up] the ground we need.

“Right now, I would say we’re probably less likely to take it. That’s about it. Hopefully today they tell me something different and we’ve found a bigger chunk of horsepower from it but I think realistically there’s not a whole lot.”

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.